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Understanding the Dharma Wheel: This Ancient Symbol Holds Secret Meanings

The Dharma Wheel is an Ashtamangala, or among ‘Eight Advantageous Signs’, a set of spiritual signs discovered in Indian religions. Although the Dharma Wheel is found also in Hinduism and Jainism, it is best-known as a Buddhist symbol. Understood also as a Dharmachakra, the Dharma Wheel in Buddhism is a crucial symbol that represents the mentors of Buddha. The wheel’s importance, however, might be analyzed in a variety of various ways.

Wheel of the Law

The word ‘dharma’ might be equated to mean ‘law’, and for that reason, the Dharma Wheel may be said to be the Wheel of Law. This popular Buddhist sign may have had its origins in Hinduism, as the god Vishnu is typically illustrated as carrying a wheel/ discus. In Hinduism, the wheel/ discus is concerned to be an effective weapon efficient in conquering enthusiasms and desires.

Dharma Wheel Buddhist symbol (Vladyslav Danilin / Adobe Stock)

Dharma Wheel Buddhist sign(Vladyslav Danilin/ Adobe Stock)Wheel of a Chariot The Dharma Wheel is also described as being the wheel of a chariot, and consists of 3 elements– the hub, the rim, and the spokes. These aspects of the Dharma Wheel, however, may be depicted in a range of methods. For instance, the center might be an empty circle, another wheel, a yin-yang symbol, or three shapes swirling together. Although the Dharma Wheel is typically depicted as having 8 spokes, this is not always the case. The different variety of spokes represent various ideas.

Dharma Wheel Meaning

The Dharma Wheel is abundant in importance and might be interpreted in a variety of ways. For example, the shape of the wheel, which is a circle, represents the perfection of the dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha, whereas the three components (the center, the spokes, and the rim) represent the three aspects of Buddhist mentors that connect to ethics, wisdom, and concentration. As the centre of the wheel, the hub symbolises discipline and mental stability, which are vital for meditation. The spokes represent the wisdom and awareness required to resolve ignorance, whilst the rim represents the state of consciousness required to hold everything together.

The Dharmachakra sometimes resembles a chariot wheel (TWiRote / Adobe Stock)

The Dharmachakra in some cases looks like a chariot wheel (TWiRote/ Adobe Stock)The Noble Eightfold Path The Dharma Wheel is most frequently portrayed as having 8 spokes. These spokes are implied to represent the Noble Eightfold Course, which consists of the eight practices that would lead a person to liberation from samsara (the cycle of renewal). Dharma Wheels rarely have 4 spokes, however when these happen, the spokes symbolise the Four Noble Realities, or the 4 dhyanas (a series of cultivated frame of minds). Dharma Wheels might likewise have 10 or 12 spokes, the former representing the 10 instructions, whereas the latter the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. Some Dharma Wheels have 24 spokes, and represents both the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination and the reversing of these links, or the 24 qualities that Buddhists should strive for. Lastly, there are Dharma Wheels with 31 spokes, and these represent the 31 realms of existence in Buddhist cosmology.

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